The Democratic National Committee has appointed Nellwyn Thomas as its new Chief Technology Officer and Kat Atwater as its deputy CTO, Refinery29 can exclusively report. Thomas is the first woman in history to serve in this role.
According to the organization, for the first time ever, all three of the people in senior leadership positions on the tech team are women, as is 52% of the entire tech team. These hires come on the heels of the DNC appointing three women of color to top leadership positions, including Waikinya Clanton, senior advisor to Chair Tom Perez; Rachana Desai Martin, chief operating officer; and Reyna Walters-Morgan, director of voter protection and civic engagement. Currently, says the DNC, more than half of the senior leadership team is made up of women and many of them come from marginalized communities.
Thomas has worked both in political campaigns and the tech industry, including at Facebook and Etsy. She served as the deputy analytics chief for Hillary Clinton 's presidential campaign in 2016.
"I'm honored to bring my decade-plus of experience in the tech industry and on political campaigns to the DNC," Thomas tells Refinery29. "We're heading into the most important election of our lifetime, and the DNC's tech team can make a critical difference in laying the infrastructure necessary to vote Trump out of office and elect Democrats up and down the ballot."
Atwater was promoted from tech political and engagement director at the DNC, and previously worked at Blue Labs, the SEIU, and Hillary Clinton's 2008 campaign.
The DNC is hoping to keep its momentum strong into 2020 after the historic wins of the 2018 midterm election. After facing controversy during the 2016 election, the organization has instituted several reforms such as changing its rules on the superdelegates' role during the nomination process.
"It's not enough to have the best candidates in the race, we must also hire the best talent in order to support these candidates and win," Perez said in a statement provided to Refinery29. "That's why I'm so thrilled to have Nell join our team. With her expertise and extensive experience in data and analytics, Nell will help ensure that Democrats have the technological edge we need to win up and down the ballot across the country."
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